Modern ovens are very accurate but, over time, the calibration can start to fluctuate, up or down, caused by any number of reasons, not least age and constant use. Just 5 or 10 degrees out can wreak havoc on your cooking as much-loved, favourite dishes begin to go wrong, being under/overcooked, or browning too quickly. Rather than blaming the ingredients or, worse still, yourself, it may be good to check your thermostat is working correctly.
To do this, you will need an oven thermometer. These, often small, stand-alone gadgets will help you check the oven’s accuracy quickly and easily. Don’t wait for things to go wrong, though. Many professional chefs, bakers and cooks for whom accuracy is paramount will use an oven thermometer right from the start with a new oven and check the oven’s accuracy every six months or so.
How to choose an oven thermometer
An oven thermometer is a relatively cheap accessory to buy, many under £20 and most under £10, which is not a lot to pay for accuracy in your cooking. However, price is not always the best guide to what suits you.
- Size is important, as seeing the display with the oven door closed is essential, as opening will cause the temperature to drop. Oven thermometers come in different sizes, so choose one that works for your oven and for you to see easily.
- The display on the thermometer needs to be clear, uncomplicated and easy to read. It is handy if they have both Celsius and Fahrenheit, as recipes can sometimes come with either.
- Oven thermometers can either hang or stand from the oven rack, and some even do both, which is helpful. Hanging from the shelf ensures it does not interfere with your dishes coming in and out. Standing, they should be large enough to not slip between the bars.
Testing oven thermometers
This oven thermometer video is from our friends at America’s Test Kitchen.
How to use an oven thermometer
The best place to put the thermometer is in the middle of the oven, where most cooking is done. However, you can also use it to find the hot and cold spots in the oven by testing in different places.
Should you discover your oven is running hotter or cooler than the outside gauge is telling you, check your oven manual or speak to the manufacturer to see about having the oven re-calibrated. However, there is no reason you cannot continue to use your stand-alone thermometer instead.
Best oven thermometers at a glance
- Best for small ovens: CDN Proaccurate high heat oven thermometer, £16.99
- Best clear face and dial: Lakeland large freestanding oven thermometer, £6.99
- Best for budget price: KitchenCraft stainless steel oven thermometer, £5.99
- Best for Celsius measuring: Kuhn Rikon oven thermometer, £15.95
- Best all-rounder: ProCook brushed steel oven thermometer, £6
- Best for Fahrenheit measuring: Tala easy read oven thermometer, £6.99
- Best for style: Taylor Pro oven thermometer, £12.88
- Best for calibration: Chef Aid oven thermometer, £6.31
Best oven thermometers to buy in 2022
CDN Proaccurate high heat oven thermometer
Best for small ovens
- Excellent for a small oven
- Hard to read dial
- Measured 5 degrees under
Star rating: 4/5
The CDN Proaccurate was the most expensive thermometer on the test but surprisingly had very few extra features. It had the largest temperature range by far of all the thermometers we tested – reaching 400C. The primary measure on the dial is Fahrenheit with 25 degree increments – handy if you are using American recipes. The Celsius is measured every 10 degrees but is very small and almost impossible to see through the oven door.
The thermometer was made of good quality stainless steel with smooth edges. The CDN was also the smallest thermometer on the test, so it would be excellent for those with smaller ovens. The fixed top bracket was small and, when hanging, took up barely any space between the oven shelves. It also has a relatively broad base and stood well on the shelves with little chance of slipping through.
Accuracy was surprisingly off at a constant 5 degrees and, as the casing is wholly enclosed, there is no way of altering this. Though given it was a continuous 5 degrees off, this could be factored in when continuing to use.
Lakeland large free standing oven thermometer
Best clear face and dial
Star rating: 4.5/5
The Lakeland oven thermometer was the largest on the test at 9cm wide and 10cm in length. In a small oven this could be intrusive but the generous size brings clarity to reading the dial. The background has a soft cream colour giving it a slightly vintage look that we liked. Celsius measures are marked in red at 10 degree increments, the Fahrenheit in dark grey but with no increments, so it’s hard to get a precise reading.
The Lakeland came up to temperature smoothly and fluctuated a little as it reached it but, once still, the reading was precise throughout the rest of the test.
The top bracket is a fixed hook and hangs low into the oven. However, the stand on the bottom is broad and deep, so it feels very steady on the shelf with no chance of slipping through.
With an impressive three-year guarantee, Lakeland obviously feels this is a robust thermometer and so do we.
KitchenCraft Oven Thermometer
Best for a budget price
Star rating: 4/5
The KitchenCraft stainless steel oven thermometer was the cheapest on the test, if only by pennies, but its build was also the flimsiest. Also, all the edges were quite sharp, especially around the dial, so it could be a problem if not handled properly.
Otherwise, it performed well in the testing and was fast at reaching a temperature. Once it had reached temperature, it held it steady with surprising accuracy.
Reading the dial was easy despite the thermometer being small. The Celsius markings are large and bold with 10 degree increments, Fahrenheit with only 50 degree increments and much smaller numbers. The dial also is coloured red from around 250C, warning that the thermometer is reaching high temperatures, which is handy.
The KitchenCraft thermometer may be flimsy and a little sharp but at its price performed well.
Kuhn Rikon oven thermometer
Best for simplicity
- Easy to read dial
- Only measures in Celsius
Star rating: 4.5/5
The Swiss-made Kuhn Rikon oven thermometer is a sturdy little thermometer of rustproof stainless steel. It is the only thermometer on the test that shows only Celsius measures, so no good if you need Fahrenheit. However, it is great for a clear, clean-looking dial face without any distracting colours and, with five-degree increments, is excellent for more precise measuring.
On the test, it was slower than some on reaching temperature readings – however, once it did, it held on to it without a flicker.
The top bracket is fixed and the base wide and deep, so it stood well on the shelf. Surprisingly, the edges of the dial and the brackets were sharp, so the thermometer needs to be handled carefully to avoid cuts.
The Kuhn Rikon is simple, unfussy and accurate, so if this is all you want from an oven thermometer it will work well, but it does come at a price.
ProCook brushed steel oven thermometer
- Robust quality
Star rating: 5/5
We were impressed before we even considered the ProCook’s measuring potential – the packaging was the only one of all the thermometers tested with eco credentials and not a scrap of plastic in sight; even the ties securing it to the card were recyclable.
The ProCook is a sturdy stainless-steel thermometer that stands firmly on the shelf and hangs, and, at 7cm, does not get in the way of what you’re cooking. In addition, all edges on the face and the brackets are smooth, so there is no risk of cutting a finger.
The dial is clear, unfussy and easy to read in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, with the former being the dominant measure and the temperature range from 0 to 300C. It was impressively quick to reach temperatures and accurate throughout the test. ProCook also includes a one-year guarantee. At this price this is an impressive, straightforward thermometer.
Tala easy read oven thermometer
Best for Fahrenheit readings
- Both standing and hanging
- Sharp edges
- Hard to read the Celsius scale
Star rating: 4.5/5
At 7cm across, the Tala oven thermometer fits nicely between sizes – large enough to read through the door, yet not so big it gets in the way of dishes.
The Tala was the fastest to reach the oven temperature and remained accurate across the whole test.
The thermometer is robustly built in bright shiny stainless steel. It has a clear dual temperature dial that is colour coded, which we liked: from dark blue at 50C, through to pale blue and gradually turning a deepening red until it reaches 320C.
The dominant scale on this thermometer, though, is Fahrenheit, and the number markings are bold and easy to read, with Celsius harder to read.
The Tala will hang or stand and wraps around the shelf rail so is secure when positioned. The bracket, though, is flimsy and hard to turn, as this has quite sharp edges – it needs to be used with caution.
Despite a few niggles, its budget price and accuracy make it still worth considering.
Taylor Pro oven thermometer
Best for quality build
- Great build
- Multi-position bracket
- Hard to read Fahrenheit measures
Star rating: 4.5/5
The weight reveals a solidly built thermometer even before it is out of its wrapping. The Taylor is made from brushed stainless steel and the dial is large, measuring 10cm across and deep. It also has a helpful silicone heatproof grip for removing from a hot oven.
What makes this thermometer unusual is the hanging bracket. It takes a few goes to work it out until we realised it spins a full 360 degrees, so viewing vertically or horizontally from many different angles is possible. The bracket slips over or under the rail to stand or hang. Either way, a quick twist to set it, and you certainly know this one is in place and secure.
The dial has clear, easy-to-read Celsius with coloured marking to denote higher temperatures. Fahrenheit is harder to see. Accuracy was bang on, making this a very impressive thermometer that comes with a very lengthy five-year guarantee.
Chef Aid oven thermometer
Best for calibration
- Screw for accurate calibration
- Very sharp edges
- Flimsy hook
Star rating: 5/5
The Chef Aid is a straightforward little thermometer that stands and hangs in the oven without taking up too much room or getting in the way. As with most thermometers, it comes with both Fahrenheit (the primary measure) and Celsius, which is a little harder to see but is helped by the colour coding of the temperatures from blue to dark red.
The top fixed bracket hook is flimsy and started to bend when trying to hang it from the oven shelf. It does bend back but we wonder how long before it snaps? However, the base was much sturdier and felt safe on the oven shelf.
The surprise element in this thermometer is on the back cover, which is perforated. In the centre is a tiny screw that helps it to calibrate in case of over or under reading temperatures – a feature we did not see on any other thermometer and one we feel would be helpful over time.
How we tested oven thermometers
The thermometers were placed in or on the centre of middle shelf in an unheated oven. The oven was brought up to 180ºC while checking the thermometers to see how quickly or slowly they reached a steady temperature. The results showed they varied in how quickly the thermometers became accurate: from Tala at approx. 12 minutes to over 20 minutes for the Kuhn Rikon model.
The oven was then increased to 220ºC for a second check on temperature alone. This also enabled us to see how they coped at hotter temperatures and whether the dial stayed stable.
This review was last updated in January 2022. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@